Thursday, January 1, 2009

Lemon Cheesecake with Shortbread Cookie Crust

Sorry that it has taken me so long to post these pictures. It didn't turn out so bad! There was some cracking on the top, but not noticeable (especially not in these pictures). I used more lemon juice and zest than the original recipe called for but the lemon flavor wasn't overpowering. I have made oreo cheesecake before and this cheesecake was definitely lighter and creamier (I wonder if this has to do with the water bath?)

Here's the recipe (modified from Epicurious):

For shortbread crust:

1/2 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup flour
1 cup finely ground shortbread cookies (I used Lorna Doone)

For cheesecake:

2 pounds cream cheese (room temperature)
1 cup mascarpone cheese (room temperature)
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs (room temperature)
juice and zest of 2 lemons

Make crust:

Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together on medium high speed for 3-4 minutes. Add flour and ground shortbread to the mixture and blend for 3-4 seconds until fully incorporated. Press the mixture evenly into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake the crust at 350 F for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow the crust to cool completely. Double wrap the bottom and sides of the pan with aluminum foil.

Make cheesecake:

(Optional: Soften cream cheese in microwave for 45-60 seconds).
Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until light and smooth. Add the mascarpone cheese and sugar and continue to beat on medium speed. Add the eggs one at a time. Blend in the lemon zest and juice.

Butter sides of springform pan. Pour mixture into the cooled crust.

Set the cheesecake pan into a roasting pan, and add enough water to the roasting pan to reach halfway up sides of the cheesecake pan. Place in a 325 F oven for approximately one and a half hours or until the cake is set and the top is goldenbrown. Remove the cake from the roasting pan and place on a wire rack. Allow cake to cool slightly, take off aluminum foil, then place the cake in the refrigerator overnight.

Once ready to serve, carefully run a knife around the edge to loosen any bits. Unclip the clasp at the side of the pan and lift off outer ring. Use two spatulas to lift the cheesecake off the springform plate onto your serving plate.

Here are some cheesecake baking tips I found from various websites:

Mix filling until only combined. Do not over mix. This will prevent cracking on the top of the surface.

Make sure there are no lumps BEFORE you add the eggs. The eggs hold the air in the batter, so add them last, and mix as little as possible once they are in the mix.

Do not overbake the cheesecake. When perfectly done, there will still be a one to two inch wobbly spot in the middle of the cheesecake.

Happy Baking and Happy New Year!